Hi, Sensi! Welcome! Though I didn't join the cult until I was almost 27 (I had just separated from my first husband and my new boyfriend was a then-NSA member and so I started practicing to impress him), I practiced for some 20+ years. What finally killed belief for me was when a friend kept asking how chanting changed anything in reality, what were the mechanisms, and, in spite of "Buddhism is reason - Buddhism is common sense", in the end, the best I could come up with was some variant of "It's magic and you just have to accept it without questioning."
my up bringing as some of you can imagine was one frought with expectations to involve myself in activities constantly
I had my kids in North Carolina and when they were still small, we moved out to Southern California. I found the organization quite hostile toward young children and their mothers! Although I was a good cultie at the beginning and thought I would integrate my children into all the wonderful children's activities the SGI had, I found that there weren't any. When we first got here, they still had "Z-Wave", which was good fun, but it fizzled pretty darn quick. And I found that parents could not be counted upon to bring their children to KRGs on a regular basis, something that struck me as quite odd. I started heading the "Future Group." I couldn't understand why it was sitting there headless, since I had been taught from the very beginning that you get more benefits if you do leadership. I quickly discovered why that plum position was sitting vacant. It was a total pain in the butt! Even the other parents weren't supportive!
I also couldn't understand why SGI parents never made an effort to get their children together socially with other SGI kids. Unless you lived in their immediate neighborhood, they wouldn't make the slightest effort to arrange play dates or anything like that. For "the most ideal family-like organization in the world," the SGI was astonishingly anti-family.
Also, I remember one year when my son was 5th grade, I think. Young, in other words. I was told there was going to be a "Kids Day" up at Soka University. Of course I checked into the details before committing, and it was basically a "get the kids thinking they want to attend Soka University NO MATTER WHAT" sort of venture. Why would 5th graders be wanting to tour Soka University?? I told my district leader that I thought this sounded highly inappropriate and that I would not be sending my son. I heard later that the kids had to sit through a couple of college students, SGI members, giving their "experience" about what it was like to be a student at Soka U. Again, why should 5th graders be hearing this??? And so on and so on. I made it clear early on that, if Soka University had the best program for whatever my kids wanted to study, then, yeah, I'd consider it. But we were supposed to be saying "My children will attend Soka University NO MATTER WHAT!!" and so I think I began to develop a reputation as a malcontent :P
I still have a very strong spriritual practice that involves Buddhism, but I am learning to be open minded towards myself and others.
When I read this sentence, I experienced a rush of sadness/frustration/grief. Buddhism has traditionally been completely accepting of others, recognizing, as it is supposed to, that each individual has his own unique path and that each one must discover and walk this path for himself. Of the major religions, Buddhisms have typically been the MOST open-minded of all! We, though, unfortunately, got involved with one of the rare intolerant sects which actually has far more in common with Evangelical Christianity than with Buddhism qua
Buddhism. It was when I started learning more about REAL Buddhism via the Internet that I realized just how much Nichiren had twisted, corrupted, and perverted Buddhism into the Cult of MEEEEE!! The SGI then twisted it even further, turning it into the "Cult of Toadface!!"
For example, look at this idea, from Nichiren and all three SG presidents:
Nichiren Daishonin: “Buddhism primarily concerns itself with victory or defeat, while secular authority is based on the principle of reward and punishment. For this reason, a Buddha is looked up to as the Hero of the World, while a king is called the one who rules at his will.” “The Hero of the World,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 835.
Makiguchi: “Buddhism is win or lose.”
Toda: "Buddhism is win or lose, so faith comes first." (Human Revolution, Volume 1, page 93)
Now look what the Buddha had to say on the subject:Winning gives birth to hostility. Losing, one lies down in pain. The calmed lie down with ease, having set winning and losing aside.
Which sounds more Buddhist?
Intolerance is utterly, fundamentally incompatible with the idea of "world peace." Notice how seldom we heard about "world peace" in recent years?? SAVE US, LORD IKEDA!!